Coca Cola and Corporate Social Responsibility

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Reflective Report on Corporate Social Responsibility Debate

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is considered an important milestone that every business should try achieve as they grow larger and have increased impact on their surroundings. In the debate about CSR we had to debate about the impact that Coca Cola’s factories has caused in India and how they should take responsibility for the environment, people’s lives and other factors.

“In the nine years prior to Coca-Cola’s bottling operations in Kala Dera, groundwater levels fell just 3 meters. In the nine years since Coca-Cola has been operating in Kala Dera, the groundwater levels have dropped 22.36 meters” (Srivastava A., 2010).

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Figure 1. Groundwater Levels in Kala Dera 1990 – 2009

The statistics show that there is a clear connection between Coca-Cola opening new bottling plantations and decreasing water levels. The decline of groundwater in quality and quantity is causing water shortages, pollution, and distribution of toxic waste. Water shortages mean that for local communities and farmers there won’t be enough water to use in their everyday lives and also impact the agriculture in those regions. Coca-Cola is also known to pollute nearby fields and water sources such as rivers that are near their bottling plants. Finally, Coca-Cola has been distributing toxic waste to the farmers as fertilizer, therefore intoxicating the environment (CSR Asia, 2005).

In the debate, the group that I presented had to look at the issue as the local government officers & village chief. This meant that we had to come up with a solution that would keep the people happy and let Coca-Cola continue production as their presence grants an economic boost that is very necessary for further development.

The main practices of Corporate Social Responsibility should be a management style that makes responsible decisions in order to collaborate with society and commit to it.

In the debate, there were different groups that debated the issue on behalf of Coca-Cola, the local people, farmers, people from the nearby village and the government.

The group that talked on behalf of the farmers wanted the Coca-Cola to close down the bottling plant due to the lack of water for their farms and their inability to sustain them without water. They also suggested that Coca-Cola purifies water or import water from outside the area that is lacking the water, but these solutions would not be feasible due to the fact that they would be very expensive and take a long time to set up. The group that talked on behalf of Coca-Cola stated that their company is already taking action in order to preserve the water. As an example, they mentioned that they have achieved their goal to be “net positive”, which means that all the water they use up to produce the drink they replace with new water. They have implemented multiple projects to manage water responsibly. As one, they mentioned the Rainwater Harvesting project that has placed over 400 rainwater harvesting stations across 20 states in India. They agreed that there is a connection that because of the bottling plants there has been a decline in groundwater and they are trying to correct their mistakes.

The Coca-Cola is also providing many jobs to the people and constantly invest into communities and small businesses in order to give them a chance at a life they have never had. They plan to keep making plans for further investments.

The local government group that I presented stated that the best resolution would be for Coca-Cola to repay for the damages it caused the farmers and continue with their projects to increase the amount of groundwater so that the environment can recover. Coca-Cola also must think of a way how to safely store or get rid of the toxic byproducts that pollute the environment. The reason why we would allow Coca-Cola to continue its production in the area is because of the countless benefits that they provide to us and we think that it is more beneficial for the company resolve this issue and continue their work here instead of closing down all their factories and dealing with it ourselves. The main areas that have been impacted also have a low population so if they moved elsewhere they might affect the masses that live in the cities.

In conclusion Coca Cola’s bottling plants have caused a lot of problems to the nearby area. These problems arise due to the fact that there is not enough groundwater for the local communities and farmers. The debate helped to see the point of the other people and come to a resolution that would allow Coca-Cola operate in the area and keep their bottling factories active, while the local communities and farmers will receive compensation for the damages the company has caused in the long-term and, also, keep running projects to increase the groundwater levels so that the environment is optimal for farming. There should be more strict laws implemented that would prevent this from happening in the future.

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